November 05, 2014

Sun Life Financial, Boston Celtics Team Up against Diabetes, Unveil Partnership to Help New Englanders Live More Active and Healthy Lifestyles

Leading employee benefits carrier adds #SunLifeDunkforDiabetes fundraising and awareness campaign to roster of National Diabetes Month programs

Wellesley, MA (November 5, 2014) – The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial and the Boston Celtics today unveiled a season-long diabetes prevention partnership featuring a National Diabetes Month fundraising campaign to benefit the Y of Greater Boston and the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, along with Y youth fitness initiatives to encourage young Celtics fans to incorporate more activity and nutrition into their daily routines. The partnership, a component of Sun Life’s National Diabetes Month programming, is an extension of its ongoing commitment to inform Americans about the risk factors and health consequences associated with the disease.

Sun Life will team up with the Boston Celtics to fight diabetes through a social fundraising and digital marketing campaign – #SunLifeDunkforDiabetes. This community-facing National Diabetes Month campaign leverages Boston Celtics in-game action and multi-media content to raise money for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and spread awareness of diabetes risk factors and ways to mitigate them.

For every “Dunk” made by a Celtics Player during the month of November, Sun Life will donate $1,000 to the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which will be matched by the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, up to a combined maximum total of $40,000. In addition, #SunLifeDunkforDiabetes will be promoted to fans at all Celtics November home games at the TD Garden. The Celtics, Sun Life and the YMCA will also promote the campaign to people in Greater Boston through content marketing and social media to augment fundraising efforts and maximize awareness.

Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass, who has been an ambassador for YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program in the past, will participate in a pregame meet and greet with children of the YMCA of Greater Boston on November 5. Additionally, Boston Celtics players will wear #SunLifeDunkforDiabetes shooting shirts as they warmup before tipping off against the Toronto Raptors. Sun Life will also encourage the public to participate in fundraising efforts by donating $1 for every Tweet, Retweet or Share using the hashtag #SunLifeDunkForDiabetes, up to a maximum of $10,000.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes by providing participants the tools, resources, support and education necessary to change their lifestyles, before costly medical bills and medications become a daily reality. The year-long program consists of 16, one-hour weekly classroom sessions followed by eight monthly sessions. A trained Y Lifestyle Coach teaches participants strategies for healthy living, physical activity and other lifestyle changes. Last year, Sun Life pledged $250,000 to support expansion of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program to additional markets including the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and the YMCA of Greater Boston.

“Sun Life recognizes that diabetes poses a critical public health crisis and understands the important role of educating people on ways to prevent and mitigate the effects of the disease,” said Dan Fishbein, President, Sun Life Financial U.S. “Through our partnership with the Boston Celtics in support of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, we can help raise awareness of diabetes risk factors and provide practical tools and information to help people lead healthy lifestyles, right here in our hometown of Boston.”

Sun Life is an official partner of the Boston Celtics and sponsor of the Sun Life Courtside Club, the Celtics’ primary hospitality venue in the TD Garden for entertaining courtside ticket holders, partners and VIP guests. A key component of the sponsorship is a combined effort by both organizations to contribute to creating brighter communities. Last year the Celtics helped Sun Life tip-off its support of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program at a special community wellness event at the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Oak Square location.

“Partnering with Sun Life Financial on the #SunLifeDunkforDiabetes campaign is a tremendous opportunity to not only raise awareness for diabetes, but to provide support for programs aimed at the prevention of this disease,” said Celtics Team President Rich Gotham.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is currently available at 882 locations in 41 states. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, aims to help people lose five to seven percent of their body weight through healthy eating, physical activity, and other lifestyle changes. These changes can reduce type 2 diabetes in adults by 58% and in adults over age 60 by 71%, according to the National Institutes of Health and the CDC.*

“The Y is rooted in the community with strong ties to local adults and families and can more easily reach at-risk populations compared to hospitals and clinicians,” says President of the YMCA of Greater Boston, Kevin Washington. “It’s our mission to make our neighborhoods healthier and stronger and thanks to the support of Sun Life Financial and the Celtics we can continue to expand these critical health and wellness prevention program in our communities.”

At the conclusion of National Diabetes Month, Sun Life and the Boston Celtics will unveil, a season-long, rewards-based diabetes prevention platform that will incentivize YMCA youth participants and their families to incorporate more fitness activity into their daily routines.

Last week Sun Life announced it is also teaming up with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to support its signature American Diabetes Month® program, America Gets Cooking to Stop Diabetes, and to support awareness programs and events with local ADA chapters in Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Globally, Sun Life has committed over $11 million to the cause to date. In addition, Sun Life is committed to supporting its employees in learning about, achieving, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and offers services and programs internally throughout the year that help employees achieve their goals.

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. The Sun Life Financial group of companies operates under the “Sun Life Financial” name strictly as a marketing name and no legal significance is expressed or implied. Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies. In the United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and services to employers and their employees, including Group and Voluntary Accident, Critical Illness, Dental, Disability, Life, and Stop-Loss Insurance Products. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE), and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information, please visit

About The Boston Celtics
A charter member of the Basketball Association of America (which evolved into the National Basketball Association) since 1946, the Boston Celtics have won a record 17 NBA Championships, including eight (8) in a row from 1959-1966, winning their first title in 1957 and their most recent in 2008. The Celtics have long stood for equality, and respect, including hiring the first African American Coach and starting the first all black starting five. In addition, 35 former Celtics players, management or staff have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In December 2002 the team returned to local ownership for the first time since 1963. For more information on the Celtics, log on to

About the YMCA
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.

*Source: National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control

Media contact:
Keith Gainsboro, Elevate Communications, 617-895-7905,
Heather Walker, Boston Celtics, 617-594-4453,

SLPC 26252 11/14 (Exp. 11/19)